Jakarta, (Antara Sumbar) - The regeneration of coral reefs in Raja Ampat, West Papua, which suffered serious damage after a cruise ship MV Caledonia Sky ran aground in shallow waters in the area, would take years.
"The coral reefs would grow five centimeters per year, depending on the environmental conditions," Director General of Marine Space Management at the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry Brahmantya Satyamurti Poerwadi stated here, Wednesday (March 15).
A preliminary investigation revealed that various species of coral spread in an area of some 1.6 thousand square meters were damaged.
Poerwadi noted that the authority will undertake measures to restore the damaged coral reefs.
Meanwhile, Head of the ministry's research and human resources department Zulficar Muchtar remarked that it was the first incident involving such a huge ship and had caused extensive damage to the coral reefs.
The 4.2 thousand-ton cruise ship from the UK slammed into the reefs at low tide in Raja Ampat on Mar 4, after taking the tourists aboard on a bird-watching expedition.
The ship, with 102 passengers and 79 crew members aboard and led by captain Keith Michael Taylor, ran aground on the reefs and had to be refloated using a tugboat before continuing on its journey.
Earlier on Tuesday, the government said, it would calculate the losses due to the incident.
"We are calculating the losses. This is not just a matter of (seeking) compensation, but it would take years for them to regrow," Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan pointed out.
Pandjaitan affirmed that the Montara incident in Timor Sea would not be allowed to recur and damage Indonesia's marine ecosystem.
A legislator of Commission IV Rahmad Handoyo stated that the authority should investigate the incident thoroughly.
"We should investigate why this cruise ship got trapped in shallow waters," he emphasized.
He deplored the incident and called on the government to intensify the protection of coral reefs. (*)
Editor: Vicha Faradika